Soul Talk: Vipassana – Finding Peace in Fear

This world is too loud. Our mind is rarely connected to our body, we are rarely living in the present. We wanted to know how we could fight against this trend of never ending worries and we found the ancient practice of Vipassana. This form of meditation tries to connect you to your own self.  It is often defined as a form of meditation that seeks “insight into the true nature of reality”. To learn more about it, we talked with Yadid Berman, a Vipassana practitioner for over a decade. He currently helps people overcome Social Anxiety at using tools from the intersection between Buddhist and Western Psychology.

What is Vipassana and why did you decide to teach it? 

Vipassana is a mental exercise, a bunch of meditation techniques aimed at purifying and liberating the mind from stress and suffering. It traces back to around 2600 years ago, where it was supposedly taught by Buddha in India of that time. Modern Mindfulness practices are based on this Buddhist Vipassana practice. Vipassana is usually taught in silent retreats of around 7 to 10 days, whereas modern Mindfulness practice is taught in less strict conditions.

Why is Vipassana so powerful? 

Because it allows a human being to raise their base-line level of awareness, strengthen and expand their mind, and liberate it from much stress and suffering. In our fast-paced, community-less, always-on culture, this is very much needed. Our society is also characterised by a severe lack of the sacred in people’s lives, Vipassana allows people to reconnect with the mystery and sacredness of this human existence.

How do you help people to overcome social anxiety?

My programme involves using Mindfulness practice as an essential tool on the road to expanding one’s abilities for human connection, amongst other things.We explore and heal feelings of unworthiness, self-judgement and fear, and learn how to expand one’s capacities and abilities to form meaningful connections with others.The goal is to turn people who are socially anxious, gradually into people who can be more socially connected than the average person who did not need to overcome social anxiety.

Is Vipassana good for any type of anxiety? 

Not necessarily, Vipassana is a strong tool, each person should explore for themselves what works for them and what they are inclined to try and explore.

Do you think it can fully cure anxiety?

A strong Vipassana practice can lead a person to experience Anxiety very differently than before, while feelings of fear can still arise, they can become much less of a problem.

How can we start working on our fears today?

By first becoming very honest with ourselves about what we fear. Most of the time we are so afraid of our fears, that we do not even have the courage to explore what we are afraid of. One can start by writing down clearly what they are afraid of, and digging in deeper.

Yadid has been a Vipassana practitioner for over a decade, and has spent around a year on intensive retreats, studying the Burmese Satipatthana method of meditation, including long silent practice periods in Asia. He currently helps people overcome Social Anxiety at using tools from the intersection between Buddhist and Western Psychology.

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